A Clarkson Mosaic - page 460

Pep Band Sweaters.
Thanks to contributions from Weston's Bookstore, ARA Slater food
service, and the Knight's Booster Club, the Pep Band sported new sweaters. Dark green with
yellow lettering that read "Clarkson University Pep Band," these sweaters gave the band the
appearance of a team. Every season the band played at the St. Lawrence-Clarkson game in
Canton, the ECAC semifinals if the hockey team went, and two other away hockey games. This
year they travelled to Colgate and Cornell, where the sweaters gave the members the "Clarkson
Ride Board.
On Thursday, March 14, WCKN Television began broadcasting a "Ride Board"
service on Channel 8 of the Potsdam NewChannels cable system. This half-hour program
displayed a list of people who needed riders or a ride to various locations. It was broadcast
every evening at 6:00 p.m. Students submitted a form to the TV station displaying their needs,
destination, telephone numbers, and any other information they felt necessary to include.
WCKN merely entered the information into its computer for display on its Ride Board program,
but made no effort to match riders with rides.
Voice Synthesizer.
To improve the life of a developmentally disabled child, Richard Cerruto
'84, electrical engineering major, spent over a year developing a voice synthesizer. Jeffrey
James, attending the Herman-DeKalb Central School, had difficulty with verbal communication
and lacked fine motor dexterity in his fingers. These disabilities made it extremely difficult for
him to communicate his simplest wants either orally or in sign language. The director of the
special education program at the child's school contacted Prof. Richard Sanford, in charge of
Clarkson's Senior Lab for electrical and computer engineering, and asked if some student could
develop a device that would permit Jeffrey to communicate in the classroom. Cerruto became
fascinated with the challenge, and working in his father's basement throughout the summer and
fall following graduation, completed the synthesizer in December 1984.
What Cerruto constructed was a sturdy communication board with pictures of 17
common objects, such as a glass of water, on the keys. When Jeffrey pushed the appropriate
button, a voice would speak, "I would like a drink of water." He also was able to tell the teacher
whether he wanted something to eat, or to play, or to write. Within the first two months, after
Jeffrey became less frustrated, other students with comparable nonverbal problems in the
classroom began using it as well. Cerruto's "A" in Lab was well earned.
On May 19, more than 5,000 people witnessed the University's 92nd
Commencement during which 1,119 degrees were awarded, including honorary degrees to both
President Plane and his wife, Mary, and 920 baccalaureate, 127 master's, and 22 PhD degrees.
Of the undergraduate degrees, 50 were awarded with Great Distinction (3.75 or better GPA)
and 208 with Distinction (3.25 or better GPA). Four faculty were honored with emeritus status.
Raymond Andrews, chemistry, and William Harrison, civil and environmental engineering,
became Professors Emeriti; Edward McHugh, dean of the division of special programs was
named Dean Emeritus; and President Robert Plane, President Emeritus.
Plane Endowed Chair.
Honoring retiring President Plane
in perpetuity for his eleven years of
outstanding leadership
, the Board of Trustees established the Robert A. Plane Endowed Chair.
Funds from this endowment were used for the salary of a full professor in any department, the
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